Brand sponsorship organisation PHAR Partnerships has been working with The Eden Project for 18 months and is responsible for finding commercial partners for the iconic visitor destination and educational charity. PHAR’s main focus has been around The Big Lunch, launched in 2009 by Eden, the event brings communities together all around the UK on the first Sunday of June. Funded by the BIG Lottery Fund and supported by MasterCard, EDF Energy, Kingsmill and ASDA the event has grown year-on-year with over 2 million people taking part in June 2011. The Big Lunch has led to hundreds of case studies of community spirit from babysitting circles to fundraising, after-school play groups to New Year’s Eve parties and its effect is more than just a one-day-a-year get together.
PHAR account director Ian Tussie discusses the benefits that brands are seeing from being involved.
This Sunday (3 June) the event takes place for the 4th time, but this year there's a twist. As announced by Buckingham Palace the Big “Jubilee” Lunch will be part of the main programme of events over this weekend’s celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Look at photos of a typical Big Lunch and the similarities with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, when an estimated 10 million people took part in street parties across the UK, are remarkable.
But what does this mean for brands? Many brands want to associate themselves with the Diamond Jubilee but this is one of only four 'official' events taking place and its sponsors can benefit from a direct association with the Diamond Jubilee.
Surely then the process of finding partners has been an easy one?It has taken brands a lot longer than expected to realise the significance and potential of the Diamond Jubilee. We have known about the tie in with the Palace for over 18 months and have spoken to a number of brands about potential sponsorship of the event. After the Royal Wedding we expected brands to buy into the Big Jubilee Lunch a lot quicker than they did but due to planning cycles it didn’t really enter most brand’s thinking until after Christmas.
That wasn't the case for Kingsmill though who signed up to join MasterCard and EDF as a top tier partner for 2012 as early as June 2011. Ian believes that Kingsmill has benefited from signing up to the Big Lunch for 2012 early as it “gave them time to plan their activation which has included using the event logo on packs, running various events such as the Kingsmill Big Lunch tour bus, a radio campaign on Heart FM, and also rebranding packs to Queensmill in the build-up to this weekend. Their activity has been fantastic and they've really embraced the Big Lunch and the Jubilee. Their message has been credible and legitimate”
With Kingsmill, EDF and MasterCard all on board as top partners, PHAR and Eden’s goal was to secure a supermarket too. Despite being in conversations with the major players for over 2 years it wasn't until January this year that the significance of the Diamond Jubilee began to take hold. After being in talks with three supermarkets, Eden and PHAR secured ASDA as the final top tier partner. According to Ian the Diamond Jubilee this weekend will be more significant for the supermarkets than any of the other major events in 2012 (The Olympics and European Championships). “What is clear from the Royal Wedding last year is that Brits love a street party and all of the supermarkets we have spoken to reported spikes in their sales during the weekend of the wedding and the Diamond Jubilee promises to be an even bigger occasion.”
PHAR has also struck secondary supporter deals with four brands – Douwe Egberts, Lanson Champagne, Buxton Water and Carling – all of whom have embraced the Jubilee and are using the Big Lunch to tell their own stories in a credible way to their consumers. So whilst many brands have jumped on the Diamond Jubilee bandwagon, Ian is confident that MasterCard, Kingsmill, EDF and ASDA have the strongest story to tell and a legacy of community spirit that will follow.